Hats off to Nancy Mounce whose essay in today’s Lafayette Advertiser on education does a great job of both focusing on the core problem and of pointing out the arrogance of some factions of the local business community. Privatization of public education is indeed the issue and “Education by corporation is not a solution.” The local chamber (not all of the business community) seems to believe that they have the expertise to micromanage the Lafayette school system when they’d be most unhappy if teachers made parallel criticisms of their performance without a realistic assessment of the problems they face. (Ex: Just where does the chamber get off telling other people how to do their job. After all, for just how long has Louisiana been the slowest growing state in the union? Go-to Experts? Nah, not even in their own field of growing the economy.)
A place where I might differ with Ms. Mounce is on her use of the “Nation at Risk”study to kick off her criticism with the current “reform” when she says that “rising tide threatens the future of public education.” The Nation at Risk study was arguably the opening salvo in a long series of biased attacks on public education based on false information and statistical misinterpretation. As a study it has long been debunked—in fact almost immediately—but the evidence was suppressed for years as it did not fit with the administration’s emerging political agenda. For a thorough discussion of this affair see: The Myth Behind Public School Failure.